This blog is not just for mums, it can also help teachers to find books that will fit relevant topics and lessons.
From my 15 years of experience as a teacher and now as a mum, it is safe to say that most, not all boys can be reluctant readers. However this does not mean to say that they don’t enjoy reading, that is, when we can finally convince them to sit still and read a book! It is simply about engaging, inspiring and creating opportunities for each individual child so that they want to read for pleasure and not because they have to.
Boys and reading is a huge concern countrywide. In a National Literacy Trust survey, 76% of UK schools said boys in their school did not do as well in reading as girls. Schools are developing strategies to tackle this but as parents we need to play our part in switching boys onto reading in order to close the gap. Poor attainment in reading has a knock on effect and invariably creates poor writers. Ask yourself; how can we expect a child who has never read a wide range of stories to be able to write their own story in a literacy lesson? We owe it to our boys to equip them with the skills they need in order to become good readers, and as a result of this, good writers.
By setting up this blog and posting reviews of books, I hope to help parents pick stories and non-fiction texts for their boys that are tried and tested. I will include comments from my boys as they are the best and most brutal critics! I also aim to include curriculum links where I can to help inform teachers of suitable texts for various subjects and topics in school.
We need to give boys access to the texts they want to read. There are so many books now written with boys in mind. Once you can turn a child on to reading for fun there is no turning back. I have seen first hand in my classes boys who disliked reading, suddenly immersed in a book because I took the time to find out what they wanted to read. Not what I wanted them to read. A book that reflects their personality and captures their imagination. One little boy in my class on the autistic spectrum loved history. So I used this to introduce him to the Horrible History books and it was like watching a light turn on.
So much so his parents bought me a set of Horrible History books for my classroom as a thank you for taking the time to find out what he loved.
I think it is important to ensure that children are accessing a range of other texts and stories from all genres in order to help them develop their own reading preferences. As a teacher I have researched and used budgets to buy into schemes that are written with boys in mind with contemporary themes. As with adults, children have tastes and opinions. What one child loves to read, another will hate. Not all girls like princess stories and not all boys like football. My little boy loves Ten Little Princesses by Mike Brownlow a fantastic book with familiar characters in that boys will love. In fact, boys love fairy stories, not least because they have the best bad guys- just think about it; ogres and beasts, a wicked witch, a grandma eating wolf! The list goes on. Try reading Fairy Tale Pets by Tracey Corderoy and you will see what I mean.
If your child enjoys a story don’t stop them from reading it or discourage it because it’s a ‘girls’ book or a ‘boys’ book. Celebrate and share the stories they read.
I am constantly on the lookout for exciting, inspirational books to engage and motivate my children and to capture the imagination of boys and girls in my class. My experience working in a library, studying English at degree level and my role as Literacy Co-ordinator in school all demonstrate my love of books.
I hope to add new book reviews regularly so check back here soon for new blogs and tell your friends about this site. I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it.